Getting Qualified In Japan: The CompTIA A+

26

Posted by jamie | Posted in Getting Qualified, Investment | Posted on 25-02-2009

a_it-tech_72rgb

Reader John Turningpin asked for more info on the CompTIA A+ IT qualification I passed recently, so I’ve put together a list of resources I used and more info on actually taking the test.

Overview:

The CompTIA A+ is an entry-level qualification that proves you are able to repair, upgrade, diagnose, and torubleshoot Windows computers. It consists of 2 tests. The first is a basic computer repair and troubleshooting skills test. For your 2nd test, you can choose from different options: (1) A higher-level but still general “IT technician” test (2) A customer focussed test for helpdesk roles (3) A hardware focus for depot / no-customer contact roles. I had originally planned to take the hardware test since I hate dealing with customers, but from the advice I had gotten it seemed like the general technician test would be more useful in getting a job.

As a general indicator for if you think this qualification is for you, I’d take the quick 10 question practice test over at CompTIA site (quick form filling in required) – anything below 5, and this probably isn’t for you; 5-7 and you have a good chance of passing with a few months of good study; above 8 and you can probably just go ahead and take the test immediatly, or find out the exact topics you need work on and focus on those for a week maybe.

Studying:

Experience: The best way to learn how to repair PCs is to get a hold of some hardware and play with it. Here’s an off the top of my head list of things you need to have experience of doing at least a couple of times:

  • Change the video card out, and know the difference between PCI and AGP, and the newer PCI-e slots.
  • Add 2 extra hard drives to your computer, and figure out how to partition them. I say 2 drives in order for you to understand the concept of primary and secondary drives on an IDE chain.
  • Strip the processor and fan from the motherboard and then put it all back again.
  • Format the drive and reinstall from scratch. If the idea of re-installing Windows XP doesn’t sound like a thoroughly riveting Sunday afternoon, this test maybe isn’t for you.
  • Go to Sofmap and check out all the hardware – would it fit in your computer? Look at all the motherboards, figure out what kind of processor slots they are.
  • Try connecting your computer to your TV. Most laptops and decent gfx cards support this just fine.
  • Try setting up a home network manually. DO NOT just plug your computers into your broadband router – that’s cheating.

That’s all I can think of right now, but if you think of anything else, please add them in the comments.

Online learning: Going the legal route, ProProfs is a fantastic free resource with online practice tests, flashcard, tutorials on specific tough topics (like the laser printing process, which *will* be on your test) etc.

Videos: If you have money to burn or have no moral qualms about piracy, I thoroughly recommend the CBT Nuggets training course or VTC series. They cover everything in the exam rather comprehensively.

Taking the exam in Japan:

You’ll need to register at Pearson Vue first, then find a test centre near you using their locator. The process of actually booking a test is very easy using their online booking system, and just make sure you select the English version of the test (there is a dropbox that allows you to choose – it defaults to English). During the booking you will also need to select the test centre and an available time slot, so be sure to have chosen your test centre using the locator before you book. Simple!

Hope that was useful to you John, and anyone else interested in getting their first IT qualification.

Comments (26)

Very useful, thanks. (And thanks for the shoutout!) Actually toyed with getting this cert back in the day but never went through with it. Learned how to build comps, troubleshoot, etc. on my own, but I'm sure there are plenty of gaps that full-blown cert study would address. Thanks for taking the time to type all this out.

Great post! I think I checked pretty much all the boxes as 'can do' that you mentioned. I wonder how hard it is in reality though? I may look into taking this test!

Any idea how much this test would cost to take? Have found a test centre down here in Okinawa but no online registration is available, unlike other areas in Japan.

@Dave:

Okinawa eh? Well, I can tell you for sure that you need to take two separate tests, and each one costs ~20,000 yen.

Also, I just tried to book online for somewhere in Okinawa and found one place called IT College in Naha city. If you use the Pearson Vue website (link in the article) to handle the booking it can all be arranged online and in English, and you just turn up on the day at the test centre and say you have an appointment – no need to contact the test centre as it will all be handled electronically. I must say how impressed I was with the ease of the whole thing, as I personally hate calling people up and speaking Japanese.

@Michael and John: why not get a practice test from uCertify (http://www.ucertify.com/certifications/CompTIA/a-plus-2006.html)? They guarantee you a pass or your money back if buy the full practice suite (~6000 yen), and it’s a great tool for gauging your ability before shelling out to take the real thing. At least download their trial and do a mini practice test!]

Good luck all!

By the way, if you do decide to use uCertify (as I’m seriously considering for prepation for the Network+ exam) use the code MICAND for a 10% discount!

I see it now! At work Firefox was blocking the menu on the right hand side of the Pearson page. So you say it would be 40,000 in total for the essentials plus extra one? That’s not bad, and I might considering I’ve an unprofessional but pretty long IT background and got 9 out of 10 in the practice test.

Any idea if it will help my chances here in Japan of getting employment?

Dave Webb’s latest blog post is…You Leave a Comment, I Review Your Site

I think combined with JLPT 1/2 it would certainly get you into the IT industry here, at least an entry level position as a support engineer from which to work your way up. Without Japanese ability, you’d have to be able to demonstrate a really high level of technical skill in some kind of programming or database stuff.

I’ve had a couple of interviews this month with a major foreign IT solutions provider here after randomly sending them my CV, and they said that bilingual staff with IT skills are very much in demand and always will be. Fingers crossed I will have an awesome new job by next month, but I don’t want to give too much away until it’s definite!

;)

Well good luck for you. Despite being here in Japan over 4 and a half years, I’m a little ashamed to say my Japanese is still rather Tarzan-like.

I did the CCNA at the end of last year. Haven’t gone hard core looking for jobs, but I didn’t get any responses to the emails I sent out.

On Yahoo auctions you can pick up routers and switches at reasonable prices if you go for the older models.

Although I didn’t get a job out of it, I’ve got my home network humming!

Andrew Cowan’s latest blog post is…Send money from Japan

Nice one! I think cold- emailing companies isn’t a great way to go about job hunting though – perhaps you should add your profile to some job sites like daijob.com and try applying online for a couple of positions there. How is your Japanese level? I’m pretty sure with JLPT2 and CCNA you could get a 400,000 yen+ /month entry level…

Thanks for the tip, hadnt thought about looking for routers on yahoo~

Thanks for the suggestion Jamie. I’ve been kind of half arsed in my search for a “proper job” because I’m not sure if that’s what I really want. I like having time to do my own thing as an ALT.

Japanese-wise after 6 years I could be fluent but in reality I’m not. I got JLPT 2 a few years ago but have literally done no studying for about a year.

Andrew Cowan’s latest blog post is…Send money from Japan

I discovered your weblog web site on google and test a few of your early posts. Proceed to keep up the very good operate. I simply additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading more from you later on!…

Very cool blog, but you must improve your template graphics.

Interesting article i totally agree with the comments above. Keep writing !!

I like your blog design. What template did you use ??

Good work, keep us posting, you are very good writer!!!

I came across your website, i think your blog is cool, keep us posting.

My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was totally right.
This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for
this information! Thanks!

Great beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your web site, how
can i subscribe for a weblog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal.
I were tiny bit familiar of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

The optimal angle for the panels is at a 90-degree
angle to the sun. As long as an internet connection is available, live
internet TV streaming is available. You can watch TV right from your laptop or desktop computer anytime or anywhere in
the world.

A person essentially assist to make seriously posts I’d state.
This is the very first time I frequented your web page and thus far?
I amazed with the research you made to make this particular
submit extraordinary. Fantastic job!

These are in fact enormous ideas in regarding blogging.
You have touched some nice points here. Any way keep up wrinting.

Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
Extremely helpful information particularly the last part :) I care for such info a lot.
I was looking for this particular information for a long time.
Thank you and good luck.

my blog … Devlieg retrofitting, Maricruz,

Get a duplicate of the software device; you may generate just about any type
of sound with the aid of your personal computer
or Mac. This isn’t only an effective understanding instrument for people who would like to explore an additional tradition, nevertheless it can provide an online holiday to
the land as well. Learning additional curricular activity is the
best for your children.

This is really fascinating, You are a very skiilled blogger.

I have joined your feed and look ahead to in quest of extra of your wonderful
post. Also, I havbe shared your weeb site in my social
networks

Heere is my web page: basketball gear store (Marilynn)

Residual income can happen with this system, but it takes time, and for many of the financially desperate people that enter such schemes, that is time they can’t afford to wait on. Whether we’re learning from
Robert Kiyosaki, Robert Allen, the folks at Power Prospecting System, or our upline mentors, we are always learning and pioneering
marketing techniques. It can be helpful for manage accounts and commissions of brokers, taxes,
payments and generate summaries of sale of multiple parties and appropriately
organize all information associated with multi level marketing business
of individuals.

Write a comment